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Clarke's Commentary on the Bible
With the seven nations that God shall cast out, Deuteronomy 7:1, they shall make no covenant, Deuteronomy 7:2, nor form any matrimonial alliances, Deuteronomy 7:3; lest they should be enticed into idolatry, Deuteronomy 7:4. All monuments of idolatry to be destroyed, Deuteronomy 7:5. The Israelites are to consider themselves a holy people, Deuteronomy 7:6; and that the Lord had made them such, not for their merits, but for his own mercies, Deuteronomy 7:7, Deuteronomy 7:8. They shall therefore love him, and keep his commandments, Deuteronomy 7:9-11. The great privileges of the obedient, Deuteronomy 7:12-24. All idolatry to be avoided, Deuteronomy 7:25, Deuteronomy 7:26.
1When the LORD thy God shall bring thee into the land whither thou goest to possess it, and hath cast out many nations before thee, the Hittites, and the Girgashites, and the Amorites, and the Canaanites, and the Perizzites, and the Hivites, and the Jebusites, seven nations greater and mightier than thou;
Seven nations greater and mightier than thou - In several places of the Hebrew text, each of these seven nations is not enumerated, some one or other being left out, which the Septuagint in general supply. How these nations were distributed over the land of Canaan previously to the entering in of the Israelites, the reader may see in the note on Joshua 3:10 (note).
2And when the LORD thy God shall deliver them before thee; thou shalt smite them, and utterly destroy them; thou shalt make no covenant with them, nor shew mercy unto them:
Thou shalt smite them, etc. - These idolatrous nations were to be utterly destroyed, and all the others also which were contiguous to the boundaries of the promised land, provided they did not renounce their idolatry and receive the true faith: for if they did not, then no covenant was to be made with them on any secular or political consideration whatever; no mercy was to be shown to them, because the cup of their iniquity also was now full; and they must either embrace, heartily embrace, the true religion, or be cut off.
3Neither shalt thou make marriages with them; thy daughter thou shalt not give unto his son, nor his daughter shalt thou take unto thy son.
Neither shalt thou make marriages, etc. - The heart being naturally inclined to evil, there is more likelihood that the idolatrous wife should draw aside the believing husband, than that the believing husband should be able to bring over his idolatrous wife to the true faith.
4For they will turn away thy son from following me, that they may serve other gods: so will the anger of the LORD be kindled against you, and destroy thee suddenly.
5But thus shall ye deal with them; ye shall destroy their altars, and break down their images, and cut down their groves, and burn their graven images with fire.
6For thou art an holy people unto the LORD thy God: the LORD thy God hath chosen thee to be a special people unto himself, above all people that are upon the face of the earth.
Thou art a holy people - And therefore should have no connection with the workers of iniquity.
A special people - סגלה segullah, - Septuagint, λαον περιουσιον, - a peculiar people, a private property. The words as they stand in the Septuagint are quoted by the apostle, 1 Peter 2:9.
7The LORD did not set his love upon you, nor choose you, because ye were more in number than any people; for ye were the fewest of all people:
8But because the LORD loved you, and because he would keep the oath which he had sworn unto your fathers, hath the LORD brought you out with a mighty hand, and redeemed you out of the house of bondmen, from the hand of Pharaoh king of Egypt.
But because the Lord loved you - It was no good in them that induced God to choose them at this time to be his peculiar people: he had his reasons, but these sprang from his infinite goodness. He intended to make a full discovery of his goodness to the world, and this must have a commencement in some particular place, and among some people. He chose that time, and he chose the Jewish people; but not because of their goodness or holiness.
9Know therefore that the LORD thy God, he is God, the faithful God, which keepeth covenant and mercy with them that love him and keep his commandments to a thousand generations;
10And repayeth them that hate him to their face, to destroy them: he will not be slack to him that hateth him, he will repay him to his face.
11Thou shalt therefore keep the commandments, and the statutes, and the judgments, which I command thee this day, to do them.
12Wherefore it shall come to pass, if ye hearken to these judgments, and keep, and do them, that the LORD thy God shall keep unto thee the covenant and the mercy which he sware unto thy fathers:
The Lord - shall keep unto thee the covenant - So we find their continuance in the state of favor was to depend on their faithfulness to the grace of God. If they should rebel, though God had chosen them through his love, yet he would cast them off in his justice. The elect, we see, may become unfaithful, and so become reprobates. So it happened to 24,000 of them, whose carcasses fell in the wilderness because they had sinned; yet these were of the elect that came out of Egypt. Let him that standeth take heed lest he fall.
13And he will love thee, and bless thee, and multiply thee: he will also bless the fruit of thy womb, and the fruit of thy land, thy corn, and thy wine, and thine oil, the increase of thy kine, and the flocks of thy sheep, in the land which he sware unto thy fathers to give thee.
14Thou shalt be blessed above all people: there shall not be male or female barren among you, or among your cattle.
15And the LORD will take away from thee all sickness, and will put none of the evil diseases of Egypt, which thou knowest, upon thee; but will lay them upon all them that hate thee.
16And thou shalt consume all the people which the LORD thy God shall deliver thee; thine eye shall have no pity upon them: neither shalt thou serve their gods; for that will be a snare unto thee.
17If thou shalt say in thine heart, These nations are more than I; how can I dispossess them?
18Thou shalt not be afraid of them: but shalt well remember what the LORD thy God did unto Pharaoh, and unto all Egypt;
19The great temptations which thine eyes saw, and the signs, and the wonders, and the mighty hand, and the stretched out arm, whereby the LORD thy God brought thee out: so shall the LORD thy God do unto all the people of whom thou art afraid.
20Moreover the LORD thy God will send the hornet among them, until they that are left, and hide themselves from thee, be destroyed.
21Thou shalt not be affrighted at them: for the LORD thy God is among you, a mighty God and terrible.
22And the LORD thy God will put out those nations before thee by little and little: thou mayest not consume them at once, lest the beasts of the field increase upon thee.
Put out those nations - by little and little - The Israelites were not as yet sufficiently numerous to fill the whole land occupied by the seven nations mentioned Deuteronomy 7:1. And as wild and ferocious animals might be expected to multiply where either there are no inhabitants, or the place is but thinly peopled, therefore God tells them that, though at present, by force of arms, they might be able to expel them, it would be impolitic so to do, lest the beasts of the field should multiply upon them.
23But the LORD thy God shall deliver them unto thee, and shall destroy them with a mighty destruction, until they be destroyed.
24And he shall deliver their kings into thine hand, and thou shalt destroy their name from under heaven: there shall no man be able to stand before thee, until thou have destroyed them.
25The graven images of their gods shall ye burn with fire: thou shalt not desire the silver or gold that is on them, nor take it unto thee, lest thou be snared therein: for it is an abomination to the LORD thy God.
Thou shalt not desire the silver or gold that is on them - Some of the ancient idols were plated over with gold, and God saw that the value of the metal and the excellence of the workmanship might be an inducement for the Israelites to preserve them; and this might lead, remotely at least, to idolatry. As the idols were accursed, all those who had them, or any thing appertaining to them, were accursed also, Deuteronomy 7:26.
26Neither shalt thou bring an abomination into thine house, lest thou be a cursed thing like it: but thou shalt utterly detest it, and thou shalt utterly abhor it; for it is a cursed thing.